Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. Every day I find lots of things in my life to be thankful for, but a whole day centered around gratitude...that's awesome! Plus, we get to have a yummy dinner with all of our family.
Now, that yummy dinner does not have to disrupt your health or weight goals. I know most of the traditional Thanksgiving meals can be loaded with excess food and overdone portions, but yours doesn't have to! Let's look at some ways you can enjoy this holiday without the food coma and next day bloating.
The Turkey: This is the easy part. Whether you like to butter your turkey or go with olive oil and balsamic does not matter. Go with your favorite recipe and enjoy! Personally, my family and I are going with spatchcocking this year. I'm always up for something new!
Stuffing: If going and staying paleo is important to you, or if you truly have an allergy or sensitivity to gluten, there are plenty of options for stuffing.
Try these recipes for a delicious treat:
If you really miss traditional stuffing and you don't have any reactions to wheat (other than bloating, cravings and weight gain!) you may want to give yourself a day to enjoy a traditional recipe. One important note: only do this if you trust yourself to go back to your healthy eating plan. I don't want to tell anyone that they can NEVER enjoy their favorite foods ever again if the only reason they gave it up has to do with weight. I'm not an extremist! I even think that sometimes it's good to remember just how awful you felt eating that food to reinforce the need to keep it out.
Vegetables: There are so many options here. The more veggies you put on your plate, the less room you have for less healthy option. Roast them, steam them, add your favorite spices. Just keep the bread crumbs and marshmallows off of them! The veggies that are always on my table on Thanksgiving are broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, beets, sweet potatoes, green beans and for Mom, turnips!
Here are some delicious recipes to try:
Cornbread: I love cornbread and so does the rest of my family. The issue is, of course, that it's unhealthy and loaded with sugar and wheat. Because of all that sugar and wheat our bodies don't get the signal that we've had enough. Before you know it, two, three, four pieces are gone and you have no idea how that happened!
There's no need for all of that. There are plenty of alternatives that will satisfy your cravings AND keep you healthy.
You will notice that these recipes do not contain any corn. Corn is a grain which is the seed of a plant in the grass family. The seed's job is that of reproduction of the plant. It does no exist for our consumption. The most abundant energy contained in that seed is carbohydrate. High carbohydrate leads to an increase in insulin. We want to keep blood sugar stable to prevent all kinds of problems including weight gain, metabolic syndrome and diabetes. Also, up to 88% of corn grown in the US is genetically engineered (GMO).
Desserts: This is my favorite part! I don't need to tell you why this part of the meal can go horribly wrong. There is nothing wrong with having a treat every now and again. However, if you can do something better, you should! If your favorite part of Thanksgiving is your mom's good old fashion pumpkin pie, I would never ask you to not have a slice, unless you are truly sensitive to one of the ingredients. You can, however, make a healthier version of most desserts.
Here are a few of my favorites.
What's most important is that we remember exactly what this holiday is all about. I know most of us think it's all about the food, but it's not. It's all about gratitude. Finding things in your life to be grateful for is exceptionally important in anyone's healing process. Take this day to enjoy your friends and family, contemplate just how thankful you are and enjoy this holiday!
Wishing you and your family a very happy and healthy Thanksgiving!